January 9, 2013 | LXXII, No. 41

Ronald Dean Thomas Sr. “RT” Big Ron” Sw’as’kin

Ronald Dean Thomas Sr. (53) “RT” Big Ron” Sw’as’kin passed away in Nespelem, Washington, on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. Born September 16, 1959, in Coulee Dam, Washington, Ron was a proud member of the Colville Confederated Tribes. He worked for many years protecting the ancestral lands he loved as a wildland firefighter on the Coeur d’Alene, Spokane, Kalispell and Colville tribal reservations. Ron also spent time working as a tree trimmer and as a pipefitter and iron worker, but he loved nothing more than spending time in the outdoors, being renowned as the best hunter of both shed-horns and trophy deer on the Colville Confederated Reservation. When not spending time in the woods fishing or ice fishing and finding monster bucks or picking huckleberries, Ron enjoyed playing pool and was a standout baseball player on native teams as shortstop, outfielder – due to his strong arm - and loved confusing opposing pitchers off by switch-hitting at the last moment. Those who knew Ron remember him as a practical joker who loved a good laugh and one who would give the shirt off his back to a friend in need. His family knows him as the Best Father and Grandfather a family could ever hope for! He loved his grandchildren the most and they were his life.

Predeceased by his daughter Rachael Pakootas (1988); beloved son Ronald Dean “Sonny” Thomas Jr. (2005) and daughter Cecelia “CeCe” Thomas (2010).

Ron’s legacy lives on through his mother Evelyn M. Thomas; children: Charley Thomas (Leah), Joseph Thomas (Jolena), Bethi BearCub-Hudson (Phillip Sr.), Shawnee BearCub (Brent) and Mary George (Ray); grandchildren: Raymond and Terry Yazzie, Philmani and Pharaoh Hudson, Germaine SittingCrow, Shayanne Marchand and Carmen, Dakota and Kaloniah Thomas; brothers: Albert Thomas (Debbie) and Louie Andrews Jr. (Laurie); sister Alberta Thomas and his lifetime companion and soul-mate Charlene BearCub. He will be greatly missed.

A recitation of the Rosary and wake was held at the Nespelem Community Center on Sunday evening. December 23, 2012. A funeral mass held at 10 a.m., on Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, with Ron’s burial next to “Sonny” following in the Little Nespelem Cemetery.

An on-line register book for friends and family to sign is available at www.stratefuneralhome.com. Strate Funeral home of Grand Coulee, is very honored to be serving Ron’s family

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